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Target Marketing on the Internet

Your investment-attraction strategy probably includes reaching out to specific audiences. For that purpose the Internet provides new opportunities to reach more people in target niche sectors than any other kind of marketing ever has.

Today, messages can be segmented to go to people who self-identify based on what information they search for. You do not have to guess or hope that recipients are interested in what you have to say – you already know. This makes for very cost-effective marketing, something that is top of mind to economic developers in these times.

Self-Selection Through Search

People reveal on the web what they are interested in by the keywords they enter for searches. Today’s web products and techniques can use those keywords to bring your organization into the direct line of vision of the searcher.

A Google Adwords campaign, for example, can be extremely narrowly targeted. Not only can you determine the geography and other parameters for where and when your ad will be served. Most importantly, you can insert keywords into your Google ads that are designed to match the terms that people would enter if they were to search for the kinds of business opportunities your community provides. Your ad will appear on the results pages found by these qualified viewers. You have reached your defined niche and not merely scattered your message to the world at large.

Web 2.0 Niche Marketing

Similarly you can reach very specifically targeted niches through social media groups. Suppose you municipality has decided it wants to attract agricultural or financial or high-tech industries. Further narrowing the focus, you may have identified greenhouse growers or credit unions or video producers. Can the web help you to reach those narrowly defined industries? Yes, by using social-media channels.

You can create relationships and build a following by defining your interest and proving your expertise through your involvement with narrowly targeted interest groups through YouTube channels, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups and many other channels that are proliferating and becoming more robust as you read this.

Segmented Target Email

An old-fashioned technique, direct mail marketing, is still powerful if it is applied to the Internet through segmented e-mail marketing.

E-mail is a quick and inexpensive way to distribute information. Many economic developers use e-mail to stay in touch with their communities, provide valuable information to prospects, reach new target customers and create relationships with vendors, suppliers and others in the investment-attraction chain.

The challenge, as was always the case with direct mail, is to provide the right information to the right recipients. The Internet gives you the advantage of knowing that the recipients are interested in your messages, since they will have signed up to receive them. But still there is a list-management job to do.

You will need to tag your lead database (CRM) by niche sector and then segment your mailing list. You will also need to create content that is of interest to the niche target audience. Effective segmentation makes it easy to send customized email to specific niche sectors, providing information that they will respond to.

Today’s online tactics for targeting narrow niche audiences provide economic development professionals with a set of tools that were simply never available before. It is now possible to be interactive and involved with your narrowly defined target audiences, rather than broadcasting to an entire sector. That’s the spirit of what we call Economic Development 2.0.

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